I went to my second REAPS (Real Estate Association of Puget Sound) meeting this past Sat. It was a whole day event featuring Mr. Louis “Lou”Brown.
Most of the time, volunteers for campaigns become active in politics during college, but in one local election, a volunteer is starting much sooner.
When a political candidate has little political experience, everyone around her has something to add, some experience to share, or some intangible to help the campaign.
Take, for example, Joyce Gerber, who is running for the Cambridge School Committee, and needed help analyzing voter data:
“I had just posted a job description at the Harvard School of Government, because I was looking for someone to help me with my campaign. I knew what I needed.”
What Joyce didn’t know is that her next volunteer didn’t drive, couldn’t vote, and stood as tall as her elbow. She bumped into a neighborhood kid, Zev Dickstein, an 11-year-old 5th grader. Zev is a political wonk beyond his years, whom Gerber had met volunteering for Elizabeth Warren’s campaign.
“We had a little discussion, we had a policy discussion. And he sent me a very nice email and said he would love to be my campaign manager,” she said.
That’s right; campaign manager.
Gerber told him she would talk to his mother, who signed off, and Zev soon began knocking on doors for Joyce’s school committee bid, just as he’d done for Warren’s campaign.
Zev said he learned a lot from Warren’s campaign.
“I learned how to canvass, I had no idea in the beginning,” he said. “And, I learned what people thought of campaigns.”
In the cynical, political world it might be easy to see Zev, The Campaign Manager, as a mere gimmick. But, the boy has been doing the grunt work that thousands of campaign workers do all across the country every year:
“I create voter lists to contact, I do strategy, I helped with the Web site, I created the campaign literature. Luckily the election, I mean it’s mostly in the summer.”
Summer is a time when most 11-year-olds are in camp, in a pool, or riding their bike to a friend’s house. But Zev has his time management down pat.
“I do my violin when I get home, then I work on the computer for Joyce. It’s really busy,” he said.
In politics, sometimes you need luck to fall your way.
This Sunday, when Zev helps Joyce kick off her campaign at a Cambridge block party. This 11-year-old will also be performing magic tricks.
|Zev Dickstein, credit Anne Mostue / WGBH|
This 11-year-old campaign manager made my morning. It is the type of “motivational injection” that last me a whole week.